David Price strikes out career-high 12 as Rays shut out Indians

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David Price struck out 12 over seven innings and combined with two relievers on a four-hit shutout in the Rays’ 5-0 defeat of the Indians on Friday.

Price outdueled Josh Tomlin, who was far and away the hotter pitcher entering the game.  Tomlin, who hadn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his nine starts while going 6-1 with a 2.41 ERA, gave up four runs over six innings in this one.  The home runs finally did him in; it was the fourth time this year that he gave up two bombs, but this time, both came with men on base.

Casey Kotchman and Sam Fuld were the unlikely home run hitters.  They had combined for three in 283 at-bats this season entering the day.

Price allowed four hits and walked two in the 110-pitch outing.  He struck out 10 or more batters for the fifth time in his career.  His previous high for strikeouts was 11, established against the Twins on May 30, 2009 and matched against the Diamondbacks on June 26, 2010.

Price improved to 6-4 with a 3.54 ERA.  Those aren’t the kind of numbers he posted last year, when he was in the mix for AL Cy Young honors.  However, he currently has a 1.06 WHIP and a 68/13 K/BB ratio in 76 1/3 innings, suggesting that his ERA should keep declining.  Last year, he had a 1.19 WHIP to go along with his 2.72 ERA.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.